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Replicability Crisis in Psychology

By clicking the red keywords and minutes embedded in the text below, you can watch specific moments of the discussion posted above.

Videotext

Public Seminar hosted a workshop with the title Replicability Crisis in Psychology. Our editor Jeffrey Goldfarb moderated the discussion held by three of our prominent Psychology faculty at the New School for Social Research: Jeremy Safran, William Hirst and Michele Miozzo.

Goldfarb started with a question addressing the New York Times article on the crisis of replicability in the field of psychology: “…something happened in psychology that made the news, maybe in a way psychologists would prefer it didn’t make the news. Is there a crisis in psychological research?”

The first response came from Bill Hirst. Discussing the unique components of failure in the field of psychology he asserted that “…the failure to replicate… is more synchronic than diachronic, … if there is a continual replication failure that should concern us.”  Hirst suggested that “…strong phenomena will emerge and get into psychology textbooks, and the weaker ones will never make it.”

Michele Miozzo further questioned the use of  the word “failure”, suggesting “…we have to be careful in understanding the results of this paper…” and reminding us of the “…variations in important statistical aspects” . Miozzo concluded the first part of his response by noting that “…we cannot conclude from these results that there is a complete failure to replicate; it’s just telling us that the results tends to be weaker than what has been reported.”

Jeremy Safran, on the other hand,  insisted that given the popularity of medications and influence of funding“we should try to have robust methods that give us effects that are particularly strong.”Saf

*continues in further minutes

Further Minutes

Here are other minutes from the discussion:

  • 15:05 “there are factors in the field which reduce the probability of replications being conducted…” (BH)
  • 21:05 “…pharmaceutical companies” (JS)
  • 21:49 “SSRI’s – very small effect sizes” (JS)
  • 24:50 – theoretical, methodological shortcomings (JG)
  • 27:17 “justification aspect of science” “… hypothesis testing
  • 31:00 “…the rhetorical aspect of research enterprise (JS)
  • 35:35 “… history and possibility” (MM)
  • 47: 28 inquiry & insecurity (JS)
  • 49:00 political concerns, empirical social science, and epistemological claims (BH)
  • 50:38 “Is Psychology a Science?” Does method make the science?” (JS)

 

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